As a consultant, I've designed and taught several courses about marketing, in particular, about marketing your services. After all, there's not much more personal in sales than selling yourself, your thoughts and abilities and personality and style. It's not easy. You may be a brilliant consultant because you understand your clients, they trust you, you develop insight, and you tailor your approach to each individual client and their specific needs. You may be a brilliant consultant because you are an expert at what you do - leading your city, country, or even the world. But unless you're able to
a) explain your value in terms your client understands and values, or
b) actually put yourself out there in front of potential clients, put yourself out to be seen (and yes, judged),
then you won't get the work.
I'm terrible at the above. Well, no, let me qualify that. I am skilled at knowing how to do it, but point b) gets me every time. Call it fear, call it a lack of self-belief, call me shy, or call me a coward. I wish I was better at self-promotion, at acknowledging what I'm good at (and I'm very good at that), and at convincing others. Heck, forget about convincing, saying it (or believing it) in the first place would be a good idea.
I think this blog is the same. I know what I need to do, and how to do it, to live a good life, to embrace my future. And I think I'm more succesful with this than I am at my own self-promotion. But just because I think I have some of the answers, or sound as if I might know what I'm talking about, doesn't mean it is always easy. It doesn't mean I always manage to embrace my life, to shrug off negative comments as if I'm coated in teflon, or to always be happy. I can't. And that's okay. And I think I need to acknowledge it here, that I have moments or even days of sadness, that I often take a step back before I can step forward again, that I don't always follow my own advice.
Coming to terms with our life-style will be a life-long issue. But our lifestyles - whatever they might be - are a life-long issue - whether it's coming to terms with not having children, or a partner, or the career we wanted (or not being able to figure out what career we wanted), or not having the health, the friendships, the body, the partner, or the money etc we wanted. All these things are our issues. And too often we focus on what we don't have, rather than what we do have. That's natural and normal. But sometimes, if we focus to an excess on what we don't have, it is neither natural or normal. But unfortunately, too often, it is encouraged by the societies in which we live.
And in this focus on what we don't have, we open the door to feelings of disconnection* and we invite in shame. I think that that stops us reflecting on what we do have. And so often, and certainly in my life, a lot of what we do have, the
good things in my life, are a direct result of not having something we
wanted. And you know, that's not a bad thing.
Yes, I'm referencing Brene Brown and her thoughts on shame again.